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Abu Ghraib general demoted for dereliction of duty, shoplifting

[JURIST] The US Army has announced [press release] that President Bush Thursday approved the demotion of Brigadier General Janis Karpinski [Wikipedia profile] to colonel, effectively ending her military career. Karpinski, the former commanding officer at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison, had been previously suspended [JURIST report] and then relieved of command [JURIST report]. The Army said she was being demoted for dereliction of duty and also for shoplifting in connection with a 2002 arrest for taking a $22 bottle of perfume at Florida's MacDill Air Force Base, an incident she failed to disclose in a later background check for promotion. Late last month an Army investigating panel cleared three male senior military officers in Iraq of any wrongdoing, which makes Karpinski the only general officer to be disciplined so far for the maltreatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, although Congress has criticized the military for not holding higher ranking officials accountable. Karpinski herself has gone on record [JURIST report] as saying that other senior figures were to blame for maltreatment of detainees, and that she is a scapegoat. The Senate Armed Services Committee [official website] has announced that it will hold hearings to determine whether any senior Defense Department civilian and military leaders should also be called to account. The Army also announced Thursday that 5 colonels and lieutenant-colonels had received administrative punishments or letters of reprimand in connection with abuses of detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that more than a doxen other junior officers had been court-martialed, discharged, or reprimanded. AP has more.

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